SARS Has Access to Your Bank Account: What You Need to Know

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has wide-ranging powers to access and scrutinize your financial information, including your bank account details. This means that SARS can see all of your bank transactions, including deposits, withdrawals, and transfers.

How SARS Gets Your Bank Account Information

SARS obtains your bank account information from various sources, including:

  • Banks and other financial institutions: Banks and other financial institutions are required by law to report certain types of financial transactions to SARS. This includes all deposits, withdrawals, and transfers that exceed a certain threshold amount.
  • Third-party data providers: SARS also purchases data from third-party data providers. This data can include information about your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial products.
  • International tax information exchange agreements: SARS has agreements with tax authorities in other countries to exchange information about taxpayers. This information can include bank account details.

What SARS Can Do with Your Bank Account Information

SARS can use your bank account information for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Auditing your tax returns: SARS can use your bank account information to verify the accuracy of your tax returns. For example, SARS can compare the income you reported on your tax return to the deposits in your bank account.
  • Identifying unreported income: SARS can use your bank account information to identify unreported income. For example, SARS can look for large deposits that cannot be explained by your reported income.
  • Collecting unpaid taxes: SARS can use your bank account information to collect unpaid taxes. For example, SARS can garnish your wages or seize your assets if you owe back taxes.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Privacy

While SARS has broad powers to access your bank account information, there are steps you can take to protect your privacy:

  • Be aware of your rights: You have the right to know what information SARS has about you and how it is being used. You can request a copy of your SARS file by submitting a Subject Access Request.
  • Limit your cash transactions: SARS is more likely to scrutinize your bank account if you make a lot of cash transactions. If possible, use electronic payment methods instead of cash.
  • Keep good records: Keep track of all of your income and expenses. This will help you to explain any discrepancies between your reported income and your bank account deposits.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from SARS: If SARS contacts you about your bank account information, be prepared to answer their questions honestly and accurately.

SARS has broad powers to access and scrutinize your bank account information. However, there are steps you can take to protect your privacy and ensure that SARS is using your information fairly. By being aware of your rights and taking steps to protect your privacy, you can minimize the risk of SARS using your bank account information against you.

How to Update Banking Details on eFiling


Does SARS have access to all bank accounts?

SARS Has Full Access to Your Information Everyone now knows that information from financial institutions, estate agents, car dealerships etc. is not confidential.

Can the IRS find out if you have a bank account?

The Short Answer: Yes. Share: The IRS probably already knows about many of your financial accounts, and the IRS can get information on how much is there. But, in reality, the IRS rarely digs deeper into your bank and financial accounts unless you’re being audited or the IRS is collecting back taxes from you.

Can SARS block your bank account?

In terms of the Tax Administration Act (TAA), SARS can only freeze the money in your account if it has notified you that you owe it money and that it is making a final demand. It has to give you ten days after the final letter of demand before it can appoint your bank (as a third party) to collect the tax.

Can the government see the money in your bank account?

That includes the IRS, Social Security and other departments. Yes, the government has the ability to access information about the amount of money in your bank account.

Does SARs have access to my bank details?

SARS now has access to all one’s bank details, including all payments made or amounts received in one’s accounts. This follows a notice to all “reporting institutions,” as published in the Government Gazette of 29 February 2012.

Are banks liable to provide financial information to SARS?

On 29 February 2012, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued a notice in Government Gazette No 35090 (Notice No 173) relating to the liability of certain institutions, most notably banks, to furnish SARS with financial information about taxpayers.

Can SARS change banking details?

Please note: SARS cannot change banking details if requested through fax, post, or telephone. Who can change banking details? Only taxpayers, registered representatives, or registered tax practitioners can change banking details. The registered representative’s details must match those on the SARS system.

Can a spouse change banking details at a SARS branch?

Held at a valid bank. Registered in the name of the taxpayer (s). Not a credit card, bond, or foreign bank account. If a taxpayer shares a bank account with his/her spouse or partner, it is no longer necessary for both spouses to visit the SARS branch for verification. One spouse can ask to change banking details at a SARS branch.

Leave a Comment